Battle Ignorance, Not Each Other
“The real villain is in this story is not Jared Loughner. It’s not the media. And it’s not the gun rights advocates. The real villain is ignorance. Because of ignorance, people project their fear and turn those who are different into enemies — both in their minds and in actuality. This is the history of war, as Sam Keen brilliantly pointed out in Faces of the Enemy. Once you demonize the “other” they become less than human and you can inflict pain on them without guilt or shame.”
Demonizing or dehumanizing the other in order to do violence, is also the premise of Pema Chodron’s teaching in Practicing Peace.
Baraz goes on to say this about guns: “The NRA is stronger than ever. And the cowboy mindset in this country, from our military budget to Second Amendment advocates, is still entrenched in our psyche. The response of two congressmen to the Arizona tragedy was to announce that they would be carrying guns from now on. Not exactly good modeling for non-violence.”
It was not a gun that stopped Loughner’s shooting spree. It was two unarmed men and a woman. Bill Badger (bleeding from a graze) and Roger Salzgeber tackled Loughner while Patricia Maisch wrestled a magazine he was trying to reload away from him. They didn’t shoot him or beat him. They just held him down until authorities arrived. They are heroes. They did not compound tragedy with more death despite how many might howl for it and call it ‘justice.’ They were willing to do what had to be done, but only that.
I submit that these folks are the cowboys and cowgirls in this situation, not folks like Loughner or the two newly gun-totting Arizona congressmen. Hollywood got it wrong. Carrying a gun is easy. Pulling the trigger is easy. Violence is easy. Stopping the “descending spiral” from “begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy,” now that’s hard. Hooray for people who can still do it!